Alice Munro needs no plaudits from me to secure her literary heritage. Dear Life is the latest collection of her work, and contains a few autobiographical pieces. As always in a collection like this you want to choose favorites. To me “In Sight Of The Lake” Is hands down the best. As beautifully crafted as all the others are, the emotional impact of “Lake” soars far beyond them. In fact, I found a kind of emotional flatness about most of the other works, heretical though it may be to say so. I can admire the prose without its hitting me in the gut.
Having to choose among the modern practitioners of the short story (though the breadth of my reading in the genre is admittedly narrow) I’d have to hand the oscar to Edith Pearlman, whose every tale in Binocular Vision grabs you by the throat and doesnt let go till you close the book.
I’m not quite alone in this assessment. Ann Patchett in her forward to that volume says pretty much the same thing, though she doesn’t bring Alice into it. Point is she speaks with some authority greater than mine about how Pearlman stands above the rest.
Getting back to Munro, which this piece is supposed to be all about, I’m sure I’m missing something when I don’t find myself as enthralled by a writer as thousands of critics and the Nobel committee are. So I’ll just offer my opinion, admit my inadequacies, and step aside.